Nichole and Nathan Dill had nowhere to go but up several years ago after filing for bankruptcy.
A few investments later, the couple created Bounce the Town, a traveling company that provides giant inflatables for parties and events, and have now moved on to their latest creation: Turf Wars, an indoor Nerf gun arena that opened Nov. 4 at 8009 N. Rockwell Ave.
Think paintball mixed with laser tag, except sub in foam darts as the ammunition in a new and trendy use of the plastic blasters originally made popular in the ’80s and ’90s.
“We thought this would be perfect,” Nichole Dill said. “It kind of just blew up from there.”
In July, it came via a suggestion by her sister-in-law, whose 14-year-old son is obsessed with having Nerf gun battles at local gyms or church centers.
“She was looking for a place indoors to see if anybody in Oklahoma had this,” Dill said. “She found there are indoor foam dart war places in Colorado and Texas but nothing in Oklahoma. She suggested the idea to us, and we ran with it.”
Plus, it gave Dill a business to run year-round, as opposed to the inflatable season that lasts from April to November.
Turf Wars quickly moved from a spontaneous idea to a business plan in a matter of months. Dill secured the 6,000 square-foot building by August. The space, previously used for offices, has 30-foot ceilings and enough room to house a 5,000 square-foot arena with a waiting area separated by Plexiglas.
The arena features a turf floor — hence, the name — with obstacles and ammo stations littered throughout. The rules are simple: Two teams of eight battle in 30-minute sessions. Referees help determine who is hit, and those who fall victim to the foam darts must sit out for several minutes before reentering.
“It’s just like a paintball arena,” Dill said. “Our bunkers are blow-up bunkers so they can be moved around. We purchased huge Legos. We’re going to build up some bunkers and forts with those. We have stairs to go up and shoot from.”
Players can bring their own Nerf guns, Dill said, as long as they aren’t modified, or they can rent from Turf Wars.
Turf Wars costs $6 for 30 minutes and is for ages 6 and up. Though Dill’s 9-year-old son and nephew might be the target age range, she said there’s not a specific demographic to cater to, noting she has had interest from church groups and even a bachelor party.
Dill said she’s already booking parties based off three packages. Bronze guarantees guests have priority for 90 minutes during open play. Silver is a private party for 2 1/2 hours, while gold is for ages 14 and up and offers the same package as silver with a Rival Nemesis Blaster, a type of weapon that uses ball ammo instead of foam darts.
During the school year, Turf Wars operates 4-9 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturdays.
Dill said her family still plans to run Bounce the Town and eventually wants an indoor space to house the inflatables instead of traveling with them, but she cautioned it will “be on the backburner” to see where Turf Wars can go.
In the meantime, Dill said Yukon and Norman have already expressed interest in opening locations.
“As quickly as this is growing, we’ll probably outgrow this facility real quick,” she said, “and hopefully we’ll be able to get a bigger location fairly quick.”
Print Headline: Nerf Wars; Turf Wars brings Nerf battles to an indoor arena in OKC